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Etowah Water sets budget, raises rates
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During a Nov. 12 joint work session and board meeting, the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority voted on several financial matters, two of which go hand-in-hand.

The fiscal year 2014 operating budget was presented to the board by General Manager Brooke Anderson. This year, the authority saw a zero percent increase in expenses in their operating budget, which was set at $3,370,738.

Projected revenue for the year is estimated to be $4,665,900. However, the increase will come at a cost to customers.

According to Anderson, next year's projected revenue will be higher due to a rate increase in order to pay off non-operating expenses.

"We have non-operating expenses that we do have to cover while the operating expenses are held flat," he said. "The increases in non-operating expenses are due to debt services, mostly mortgage."

The rate increase, also set by the board during the meeting, raised residential water rates by $2.36 a month and residential sewer rates by $2.60 a month.

According to Anderson, the average bill for a residential water customer is $43 a month with a use of about 5,000 gallons. After the increase, customers will be paying between $45 and $46 per month for the same amount.

"This is not something we take lightly and not something we do because we want to, but because we have to," he said. "We have to meet these obligations."

Both presented items were passed by the board unanimously.